Construction begins on West Midlands production hub

Construction begins on West Midlands production hub
Billy Billingham via BBC

Ground has been broken on The Tea Factory, a new BBC production hub in the West Midlands that promises to be the BBC’s greenest building, with a new series featuring Billy Billingham to be produced in the region.

The hundred-years old building is on Bordesley Street and is being developed by Stoford, with the work n the 84,001 sq ft edifice due to be completed in 2027. The site will cost less to run than The Mailbox site, and will support the BBC’s net zero commitment.

Bordesley Street is in Digbeth, already a significant creative hub that is growing, with high-profile West Midlander Steven Knight backing Digbeth Loc. Studios that will be the new location for MasterChef from the autumn this year.

The relocation of the primetime series will bring 130 new jobs to Birmingham and contribute 65 hours of peak time TV from the city. Birmingham will be Banijay’s UK’s largest production base out of London and also includes their scripted partnership with Steven Knight, Kudos Knight, based in Digbeth. Clear Cut have established a new post-production facility.

A new commission for BBC One Daytime and iPlayer will be made from Double Act’s new regional hub in Birmingham. Ex-SAS leader Billy Billingham (pictured above) will be following Britain’s elite enforcement teams and police forces up and down the country in 15×30 series SAS: Catching the Criminals.

The BBC is investing to support the relocation of independent production companies including Spun Gold TV, who will move out of London to a new Digbeth-based production office bringing BBC Daytime format Garden Rescue with them.

BBC Daytime dramas already produced in the region include Father Brown and its spinoff, Sister Boniface Mysteries, and its flagship forensic crime drama, Silent Witness, will also make the move from London once the next series has finished filming. Knight’s new drama Two Tone was also filmed in the area.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “This is a significant step, not just for the BBC, but for invigorating the wider creative industries in the Midlands. We are transforming The Tea Factory into a world-class state of the art production facility which will benefit the region for generations to come.

“Digbeth will deliver world-class programmes, be a centre for excellence and bring investment and new opportunities to one of the most vibrant parts of the country.”

The TEa Factory

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, added: “Since Tim Davie and I sat down to agree our Memorandum of Understanding back in 2021, the relationship between the BBC and our region has been steadily progressing. This latest announcement marks a major step forward in the wider story of the resurgence of the creative industries in the West Midlands.

“The Tea Factory has been years in the making and the spades now in the ground will help supercharge the regeneration already underway in Digbeth. I will continue to play my part in ensuring our region’s relationship with the BBC continues to blossom and I look forward to even more investment to come in the months and years ahead.”

Images: Billy Billingham (top) via BBC
Group shot at The Tea Factory via BB (l-r: Cllr John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council; Matt Burgin, Joint MD of Stoford; Nick Owen, BBC Midlands Today; Tim Davie, BBC Director-General; Hayley Valentine, Head of BBC Midlands; Kaylee Golding, BBC Radio 1xtra; Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands)

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